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You may have to stop sharing your streaming passwords

It’s one of the most open secrets in streaming services — everyone shares passwords. As a way of saving money, people will subscribe to different streaming services and then share user names and passwords with friends and relatives.

For example, one person subscribes to Hulu while a friend subscribes to Netflix and they swap access to their accounts. It’s against the law, but you’ll only be in trouble if the companies running these streaming services decide to go after customers, which so far none has.

Now, an 800-pound gorilla in the entertainment industry that’s behind one upcoming streaming service is serious about putting the kibosh on such sharing. We’ll tell you what company is pushing the crackdown, as well as where the new streaming service will be available.

The streaming mouse roars

Mickey Mouse seems friendly, but he’s ready to start cracking the whip on streaming password sharing. The Walt Disney Corp. has entered a carriage agreement with Charter, which operates the Spectrum brand.

Why does the agreement affect you? Because the two companies say they plan to work together to implement ways to stop password sharing.

The agreement comes just months before Disney launches its highly anticipated Disney+ streaming service. The service has exclusive rights to all Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars films.

In a press release, Charter stated that the agreement would also likely affect Hulu and ESPN+. Minority shareholder Comcast’s NBCUniversal handed complete operational control of Hulu to Disney earlier this year and ESPN is owned by Disney.

The companies did not elaborate on how they would crack down on password sharing, or as Charter put it “piracy.” One possibility is that Disney could track the IP addresses of users signing on to its services and Charter could match those IP addresses to those of its broadband customers.

There does seem to be a loophole, however. As Arstechnica reports, the crackdown may only affect users who subscribe to Disney streaming services through Charter and not directly from Disney or other services.


Related: How to pick the best streaming service


Devices you can stream Disney+

Beyond its Charter deal, Disney states it has reached global agreements with other companies to allow access to Disney+ on a number of other platforms and devices. You will be able to get Disney+ through:

  • Apple TV (tvOS)
  • Android mobile devices
  • Android TV
  • Chromecast
  • Desktop web browsers
  • iPad (iPadOS)
  • iPhone (iOS)
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku streaming players
  • Roku TV
  • Xbox One

As you may have noticed, Amazon’s Fire TV is not on the list, at least for now. During a conference call with investors earlier this month, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the streaming service would be available through a number of distributors, including Amazon.


Related: Get to the secret Netflix menus and start watching


During the call, Iger said no deals had been finalized. So it may be just a matter of time before Disney adds Amazon’s Fire TV to the mix.

Disney+ will launch in the U.S. on November 12 for $7 a month. The company also will offer a bundled package with Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $13 a month.

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